Tuesday at 2 p.m. El Dorado County government declared a “snow day.” All non-essential employees were sent home and only emergency services personnel remained on duty. The sudden and unexpected dump caught motorists and residents unaware, and workers who had gone to lunch called in to say they wouldn’t be back at their posts.
County Department of Transportation’s maintenance director Don Spear said all his resources were thrown into the breach to clear roads, shove debris aside and clear enough minimum space for vehicles to get through.
“Our on-call employees were activated for other critical, core functions such as Protective Services, Communicable Disease Control and Animal Services,” Communications Officer Maggie Williams wrote via e-mail Thursday morning. “We did have a number of staff who remained working after the closure was declared so that they could finish assisting members of the public and/or for safety reasons. For example, at our Senior Day Care Center in Placerville, all of the staff stayed until all of the seniors were safely on their way home.”
Williams further checked with Animal Services Director Henry Brzezinski who reported “no unusual animal stories related to the snow on that day.”
Elsewhere around the county, the El Dorado Union High School District authorized a two-hour delayed start in morning classes Wednesday for El Dorado High School in Placerville and Union Mine High School in El Dorado. Many students are bussed in from higher elevations to those two schools and the transportation unit had to wait for snow removal or to chain and unchain school bus tires.
While none of the district’s schools were closed early Tuesday afternoon, some bus routes were seriously delayed delivering their students home. The most significant was a high-country student who was finally dropped off about 6:25, almost two hours later than usual, according to Associate Superintendent Baldev Johal.
Johal also noted that all 25 district buses were “impacted” by the snow at some point between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon, that is, all had to chain-up at some point on their routes.